Australia

Nice to meet you, God. I have a few questions

What a new movie gets right about what we all want to know

Imagine you got to sit down with God and ask him anything. What would you ask?

At cinemas from October 25, new drama An Interview With God hinges on journalist Paul (Australian actor Brenton Thwaites) having a one-on-one with, you guessed it, God (played by David Strathairn, not Morgan Freeman). Well, a guy who claims to be God … and knows an awful lot of god-like stuff.

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An insightful understanding about the kinds of questions which any of us has for the Almighty.

An Interview With God doesn’t just stand out because it’s a pronouncedly Christian film of good quality that largely avoids cheese and preaching. Even more notable is its insight about the kinds of questions that any of us would have for the Almighty.

The perennial issues of evil, suffering and our desire for a “fix it!” solution do arise in the film, as Paul tries to grill God and the maker of heaven and earth continues to guide Paul back to what lies beneath. Yet, no matter what big question Paul lobs at God – or God raises without hesitation – there’s always another one that’s more personal and specific that the troubled journalist really wants to know.

Whilst viewers might be distracted during An Interview With God by the depiction of God as a person – a person who is not Jesus Christ – Strathairn does a fantastic job of embodying the otherworldly yet relatable character of God, evidence that the film-makers have done plenty of biblical homework. But the elephant in the room remains as to why God has showed up like this, given the magnitude of his only other incarnation (John 1:1-18; Hebrews 1:1-3) and the importance of Jesus’ return (Revelation 22).

Some viewers might also wrestle with odd references to the God of the Old Testament being different to the God of the New Testament, or how God refers simply to Satan as being “overrated”.

But An Interview with God is undeniably savvy about the human side of this interview. Paul is a nice, average bloke whose Christian faith has waned. Problems at home are consuming him. Prayers are fired off, without any hope of answer.

Would we be so brash, defiant and self-righteous if we actually sat down before God?

The chance to put any question to God inspires Paul to be polite and only occasionally argumentative. He doesn’t rant at God; he shows respect and consideration. There are things he really, really wants to know about his own situation yet he only gets to them because God keeps provoking him to address what’s in his heart.

I think I would be the same, and you as well. We might talk a big game about wanting a showdown with God and hauling him over the coals for all the terrible stuff we have seen or heard (let alone what we have not), but would we be so brash, defiant and self-righteous if we actually sat down before God? Or might our line of questioning change, in the face of the creator of all?

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